A former Ohio man accused of fatally shooting his estranged girlfriend in York City 21/2 years ago has now been deemed competent to stand trial.
Julio Angel Gonzalez-Pagan, 41, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and burglary in the death of Jessica Morales, 33. The couple had been together for eight years.
Morales left him several weeks before she was killed, taking her three children and moving to her sister's home in the 500 block of South Court Street, York City Police said.
Police allege Gonzalez-Pagan came to
York and gunned Morales down because she'd left him.
As recently as November 2011, he'd been repeatedly ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial and held in Torrance State Hospital near Pittsburgh.
Competent: But in March, a psychiatrist at Torrance determined Gonzalez-Pagan is competent to stand trial, according to senior deputy prosecutor Duane Ramseur.
A pretrial conference in his case is set for Aug. 23. The defendant is now being held at York County Prison without bail.
Between now and Aug. 23, he will be evaluated by a psychologist to determine whether he had the specific intent to kill at the time of the homicide, Ramseur said. "Specific intent to kill" is a legal requirement for a first-degree murder conviction in Pennsylvania, according to Ramseur.
Public defender Erin Thompson, who represents Gonzalez-Pagan, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
The background: Morales and Gonzalez-Pagan lived together for eight years, according to police.
Gonzalez-Pagan said he was having stress-related issues when Morales left, and that he had been on medication for his nerves but stopped taking it, lead Detective Andy Baez has said.
Baez said Gonzalez-Pagan paid a friend to drive him to York because he believed Morales was seeing another man. He told detectives he brought a gun to confront the alleged new boyfriend, Baez said.
Wanted new life: When Gonzalez-Pagan got to the Court Street row house about 2:20 p.m. Nov. 15, 2009, Morales told him she wanted to start a new life without him, police said.
According to Baez, Gonzalez-Pagan said he lost control and shot Morales in the head and chest.
After the shooting, Gonzalez-Pagan dropped his .38 Special double-barrel handgun and began to hug and kiss the unresponsive Morales, asking for her forgiveness, Baez said.
Gonzalez-Pagan said he didn't intend to kill Morales, Baez has said.
-- Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.